The one month public consultation for the draft rules of the proposed Technology & Construction Division (“TCD”) of the DIFC Courts recently closed. Already established in the Middle East as an important and reliable forum for resolving commercial disputes, the DIFC Courts will be able to add another “string to its bow” once the TCD opens for business, as it will be better equipped to deal with a wide range of “technically complex” issues often historically referred to arbitration in this region, such as:
Although similar to the Practice Directions of the Technology & Construction Court (“TCC”) of England & Wales, under the proposed rules of the TCD, and as part of its case management function, the TCD judge is likely to consider the appointment of a “court appointed” expert, inspections, and the use of a Scott Schedule for setting out the Claimant’s case item by item, alongside the Defendant’s response. Furthermore, Pre-Trial Reviews are not compulsory as is the case in the TCC.
There are many positive aspects to establishing the TCD, including:
Some considerations which may discourage potential users of the TCD are:
That said, the TCD will provide parties with a wider range of dispute resolution forums for “technically complex” matters, within the Middle East. Given the ever increasing volume of high value construction projects, and the fast pace of technology development within the region, this makes the introduction of the TCD a very shrewd and timely addition to the DIFC Courts. The final rules for the TCD are expected to be published by the end of the second quarter of this year.
Nichola Reece-Burton (ACIArb)
Barrister-at-Law/Senior Legal Consultant
Head of Litigation & Dispute Resolution
James Berry & Associates Legal Consultants
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